COVID-19 boosters now recommended for everyone 16 and older

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Eligibility expansion will further increase protection as omicron variant spreads

OLYMPIA – Booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are now available for teens ages 16 and 17. The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) expanded booster dose eligibility to include everyone 16 and older following guidance and recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.

“Ensuring booster doses are available to as many people as possible will add an extra layer of protection across our communities this winter, help keep families healthy as we gather this holiday season, and increase immunity as the omicron variant spreads worldwide,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Secretary of Health. “Please do not delay, make an appointment to get your booster shot as soon as you are eligible.”

Everyone 16 and older is recommended to get a booster dose:

  • Six months after receiving the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or
  • Two months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the CDC, initial data suggests COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen the protection against omicron and other variants.

“The recent emergence of omicron is another reminder of the importance of vaccinations and boosters, especially for children and adults with chronic conditions that place them at higher risk for severe illness due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett, Chief Science Officer. “We know vaccines are safe and effective at protecting us from hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Getting a booster is the best way to increase immunity that tends to wane over time.”

Across Washington, more than 1,282,000 people have received an additional dose, which includes both boosters and third doses. Boosters can be mixed and matched, which means adults can get any COVID-19 vaccine available. However, Pfizer is currently the only vaccine authorized for people ages 16 and 17.

To make a vaccine or booster appointment, visit Vaccine Locator, Vaccines.gov, or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available. If you are unable to make an appointment at one location due to high demand, please try another. DOH appreciates the public’s patience as vaccine supply continues to increase across the state. Those with further questions are encouraged to visit DOH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions webpage or talk to their trusted health care provider.

The DOH website is your source for a healthy dose of information. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for the DOH blog, Public Health Connection. 

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